How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?

How often you should change your toothbrush? What are the signs of a brush that should be replaced? What happens if you use a toothbrush way past its prime?

Read the below blog where we answer the above questions and many more to make sure your toothbrush is being changed when it needs to be.

Your Toothbrush

There’s nothing like leaving the dentist with fresh, clean teeth and gums, and treating them to the soft, straight bristles of a brand-new toothbrush. Regularly updating your toothbrush is optimal for ongoing dental care, and is most effective for preventing cavities, plaque build-up, and bad breath by removing food and bacteria that have collected along the gumline.

However, toothbrushes are not meant to last forever, and they will wear out over time. As the bristles become worn, they become more prone to bacterial or fungal growth, not exactly what we want in our mouth.  But do you know how often you should change your toothbrush, what the signs are of a brush that should be replaced and what happens if you use a toothbrush way past its prime?

These are important things to know, because continuing to use an old, tattered toothbrush can lead to oral health issues that are easily avoidable by changing brushes on a regular basis.

How often should you change your toothbrush?

We recommend brushing your teeth at least twice per day (Morning and Night). The wear and tear on your toothbrush from such frequent use will become noticeable over time, but how bad should it get before we throw the old toothbrush out and start using a fresh one?

Manufacturers and dentists recommend that you should change your toothbrush every 12 – 16 weeks to maintain a consistent level of oral hygiene. Replacing it beyond 16 weeks can negatively affect your oral health and leave your mouth open to bacteria and infection.

Of course, these guidelines only apply to the normal routine of brushing twice per day and taking proper care of your toothbrush between brushings. There are some circumstances where you should throw away your old toothbrush before the 3-month recommendation.

For example, if you or a family member has been sick, especially in the case of viral and bacterial infections, you can stop the spread of disease by replacing every toothbrush in the house.

Or, if someone else uses your toothbrush by mistake, throw it away. It’s a good idea to start using a new toothbrush than risk infection from the bacteria in someone else’s mouth.

Another circumstance in which to replace your toothbrush is if it’s beginning to look worn out, the bristles have lost their stiffness, or the brush has fallen into a garbage can or other unclean environment. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Should children change their toothbrush more often than adults?

Children should have their toothbrushes changed more often than adults, as they tend to gnaw on the handle or squeeze the toothbrush head between their teeth. This lessens the toothbrush’s effectiveness to adequately clean and maintain your child’s smile than through normal use.

You should also ensure that they are rinsing their toothbrush thoroughly in case they expose the bristles and brush head to surfaces other than their teeth.

How to maintain your toothbrush.

Along with your toothbrush, you likely use many personal grooming tools every day, such as razors, trimmers, and water flossers. What sets toothbrushes apart is that they’re one of the few appliances that make direct contact with the inside of your mouth, so caring for them is crucial to making them last and protecting your health.

After using your toothbrush, rinse it thoroughly with water. Let it air dry upright in a cup or container, but if others are storing their toothbrushes in the same container, try not to let the heads or bristles touch one another.

What happens if I don’t change my toothbrush?

Over time, the bristles on your toothbrush will weaken, and begin to bend and twist in different directions. This is known as bristle flaring, and occurs as a result of the water, toothpaste, and brushing motion your toothbrush is subject to every time you use it.

Bristle flaring affects your toothbrush’s ability to brush food aside and effectively remove plaque, allowing it to build up and lead to gum disease and tooth decay. You can help avoid having to be treated for these conditions by simply changing your toothbrush every 12 – 16 weeks.

Easy reminders for when to change your toothbrush.

It might not be easy to remember exactly when the 12-week recommend time is up to change your brush, outside of the bristles visibly wearing out. However, you can try a few simple techniques to keep you on schedule:

  • Replace your toothbrush on the first day of every changing season throughout the year
  • When you start with a new toothbrush, place a reminder on the calendar for 12 weeks down the road to throw it out
  • If you visit your dentist for a routine checkup every 6 months, change your toothbrush after your appointment, and then again at the halfway mark between appointments

Of course, at any time the bristles on your toothbrush begin to look frayed, discoloured, or worn out, change your toothbrush as soon as possible. You’ll be protecting your teeth against oral health issues and giving your smile the best possible chance of remaining clean, white, and healthy.

Speak to one of our reception staff if you are in need of a new tooth brush, we also have electric toothbrushes and electric water flosses available for purchase if you would like one of these, we can also order one in if you are after a specific brand that we may not have on our shelves.